The net worth of the average black household in the United States is $6,314, compared with $110,500 for the average white household, according to 2011 census data. The gap has worsened in the last decade, and the United States now has a greater wealth gap by race than South Africa did during apartheid. (Whites in America on average own almost 18 times as much as blacks; in South Africa in 1970, the ratio was about 15 times.)
This inequality was almost nowhere mentioned during the Occupy moment. Indeed, the "black-white income gap" today is wider than it was in 1967. That bad check the March on Washington was all about worth even less in 2014. The Golden Age of Capitalism missed excluded black Americans. The Golden Age of Capitalism missed a large part of black America. Thomas Piketty:
Inequality reached its lowest ebb in the United States between 1950 and 1980: the top decile of the income hierarchy claimed 30 to 35 percent of US national income, or roughly the same level as in France today. This is what Paul Krugman nostalgically refers to as “the America we love”—the America of his childhood. In the 1960s, the period of the TV series Mad Men and General deGaulle, the United States was in fact a more egalitarian society than France (where the upper decile’s share had increased dramatically to well above 35 percent), at least for those US citizens whose skin was white.
During this Golden Age, white Americans relocated to the suburbs and abandoned black Americans in the inner city. The government also ended its pre-World War Two commitments to urban public housing and redirected its resources to the suburbs: roads, generous tax breaks, and long-term home loans (the 30-year mortgage was not devised by the market but by the government).
Some turn to the 90s (the Clinton-era) as evidence of economic progress (low unemployment) for black Americans—but this was all an illusion. The prison population in 1970 was below 300,000; in the 1990s it approached 2 million (the population of the US in 1970 was 200 million; by 1990, it was 300 million). Black males make up half of the prison population (1 million), and the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not include those who are sitting in cells doing nothing in its unemployment figures (Read Punishment and Inequality by the Harvard sociologist Bruce Western). But the story is not over yet.
Things are only going to get worse because since the 90s, black Americans have, in greater and greater numbers, been forced out to suburbs like Ferguson at the very moment the market and white Americans are returning to the core of the city, and the core is where the jobs are...
Nicholas Kristof points out that white Americans do not want to hear about this problem. They think the story of inequality and race is getting more attention than it deserves...
MANY white Americans say they are fed up with the coverage of the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. A plurality of whites in a recent Pew survey said that the issue of race is getting more attention than it deserves.